They say the best ideas are the simplest ones, and this is a great example from The Agency of Design.
It seems too many products just end up going through an industrial shredder at the end of their useful lives, making recovery of materials afterwards somewhat difficult. This would seem to help solve the problem in a simple and (I would guess) cost effective way. It also shows how the role of 'design for manufacture' is becoming ever more critical as we look to make better use of our resources, but with a bit of thought and ingenuity it can be done in a practical way.
Designers and manufacturers need to be working together closely to make this happen!
we looked for the cheapest method of disassembly possible. Knowing that any labour time could eliminate the value of the materials, we developed a small pellet that sits next to a snap fit joint. The whole product can be placed in a vacuum chamber (a cheap piece of capital equipment) and the pellets expand to undo the snap fits, disassembling the product. This allowed non destructive separation of the materials enabling visual identification and high quality material reprocessing.